Madhukar Gupta panel to review restructuring Home Ministry

Government has constituted an expert committee, headed by former top bureaucrat, Madhukar Gupta, to review the ‘organisation, structure and processes’ of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The objective is to meet the growing internal security challenges of the 21st century. Way back in 2009, then Union home minister P Chidambaram had suggested bifurcation of the MHA to focus on mounting internal security challenges.

The terms of reference of the panel provide a scope for evaluation of the system, capacity and processes of the Ministry besides recommendations on increased coordination among various security wings and stronger legal foundation.

It has been asked to examine and evaluate the organisational design of the interior ministry with respect to its objectives, and the laws it is assigned to implement.  Former Sahastra Seema Bal chief Archana Ramasundaram and Director of Institute of Conflict Management Ajay Sahni are the members of the Committee.

According to its terms of reference, the Committee will also examine and evaluate the organisational capacity of MHA and the human resources at its disposal and propose methods for augmentation as well as better resource deployment if required.

‘The Committee is also expected to examine and evaluate the organisational procedures followed by MHA, including delegation of powers, responsibilities and financial processes,’ a top source in the Ministry said.

Other terms are to “propose methods to increase coordination and flow of information within different departments of the Ministry, particularly with regard to national security, law and order issues and other security related issues which may arise in future. The panel is to propose mechanisms to allow senior officials of the Ministry to exercise better oversight of their areas of work and devote greater time to strategic priorities.’

One of the tasks with the committee, said a government source, is to rationalise the work of Home Secretary, Special Secretaries, Joint Secretaries and other officers to fine-tune MHA’s functioning with contemporary demands, such as establishing cyber and information security division to deal with online security threats and crimes.
‘The terms also provide to study Ministry’s activities that require stronger legal foundations and to propose the need for legal changes if required.

‘Besides, the task force is also mandated to study and propose the mechanisms that allow the Ministry to engage professional experts, provide flexibility in areas of emergent need such as cyber security and technological developments that may pose risks to internal security.”

The Committee will also study and propose methods to increase the efficiency of organisations associated with the Ministry, such as training centres and forensic labs to enhance their capacity and efficiency.

It is expected to prepare one or more reports with its findings and recommendations as per the terms of reference so as to restructure the Ministry in a way that it is ready to deal with the challenges of the present era, and any other matter the Committee considers relevant.

 

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